The roles, responsibilities and functions of traditional United Nations peacekeeping operations have expanded considerably. Most peacekeeping operations, including those in Africa, are now multidimensional, involving both military and civilian components and carrying out complex functions, ranging from observing ceasefires to preparing for elections, according to a panel of experts at the Enhancing Peace Operations in Africa Workshop organized by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS) in Washington DC, August 12 – 15, 2013.
The workshop brought together approximately 40 participants from 18 African troop- contributing countries; the African Union (AU); the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS); the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD); and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), as well as U.S. and inte
rnational representatives from the United Nations (UN) peacekeeping community of practice, to examine lessons-learned in African peacekeeping in order to improve peace operations on the continent.
“African peacekeeping operations are a vital component in the evolving African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA),” Mr. Michael E Garrison, ACSS Acting Director, said in his opening remarks. “It is therefore extremely encouraging to see so many senior leaders and representatives from across the continent’s ongoing peacekeeping missions here with us today. ... As we work together to identify lessons and develop solutions we intend to challenge you and we expect you to challenge us as well.”
Ambassador Roger A. Meece, who in June left the post of Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Head of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), delivered the keynote address.
“Closer integration of civilian and military peacekeeping instruments and capabilities is required,” he remarked. “We need to pay more attention to this because it is not uncommon for suspicion to occur between civilian and military personnel" within the same mission, he said.
Responding to a question about future peacekeeping trends, Ambassador Meece noted, “The evolving model of 'hybrid' peacekeeping involving the African Union and United Nations is certainly important and innovative, but we also need to develop sufficient capacity within the Regional Economic Communities (RECs), which do have significant peacekeeping experience.”
Dr. Raymond Gilpin, the Dean of Academic Affairs at the Africa Center, stressed the need for African peacekeeping operations to become more financially independent and sustainable. “With better stewardship of resources there is little doubt that Africa can indeed finance its own operations,” he said.